The seven candidates for Georgia governor have poured more than $12.7 million into a burst of TV and radio ads ahead of next week’s primary. And there’s more to come as the contenders dig deeper into war chests totaling more than $22 million.
The biggest spender, by far, is Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle. The Republican front-runner has spent more than $4.3 million on ads touting his education and economic agenda. He’s been bolstered by $1 million more from Citizens for Georgia’s Future, a pro-Cagle outside group.
Stacey Evans snapped up the most airtime of either Democrat, spending at least $1.3 million through the weekend, according to an analysis conducted by Strategic Media Services.
Her rival, former House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, has spent a relatively meager $500,000 on ads, and records show she wasn’t on air in metro Atlanta during stretches of April and May.
Her campaign has focused on grass-roots engagement of voters, and she’s said traditional TV-focused advertising is no longer as effective as it once was.
But she can afford the hands-off approach thanks to plenty of backup from third-party groups. BlackPAC, PowerPAC Georgia and Emily’s List combined to spend nearly $2 million boosting her campaign, giving Abrams air cover the last two months of the race.
On the Republican front, Secretary of State Brian Kemp has now spent more than $1.5 million on airtime, steadily increasing his buys to pair with attention-grabbing ads. Two other rivals, former state Sen. Hunter Hill and executive Clay Tippins, have spent about $1 million each.
A fifth candidate, state Sen. Michael Williams, is also in the race.
In all, about $9.1 million was spent on ads for the Republican campaigns, while Democrats have shelled out more than $3.6 million.
Read more recent AJC coverage of the campaign for governor: